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April 5, 2011

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DVD of the Week – Review of TRON: Legacy (2010)

by NIR SHALEV

In the original 1982 classic, Jeff Bridged played Kevin Flynn, a virtual world/game designer whose algorithms and programming codes were stolen by a giant corporation and were used to make millions of dollar in software and games. One day, while attempting to retrieve information that would prove that he’s the original designer, he was teleported into the server that was run by that very corporation. Trapped inside the server, Flynn met Tron, a program that was created by his best friend Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) and together they fought against everyone and everything on their path to finding an escape from within the server once and for all.

TRON: Legacy takes place 29 years after the original film and it mostly follows Flynn’s son Sam (Garrett Hedlund). In a prologue sequence that takes place in the year 1989, we see a young Sam tucked into his bed while his father Kevin tells him about his experiences inside The Grid, the virtual world that exists inside the server that he’d been trapped within. And the very next day he vanishes, never to be seen or heard from for 11 years. That is until Alan tells Sam that he got a page from Kevin’s number with a message telling him to go to Flynn’s old video arcade. As Sam enters the arcade and finds the server, he too is teleported into it and there witnesses The Grid first hand.

The server has been self sustained for almost 30 years and was being developed from within on a daily basis. The Grid looks quasi-similar to our world, in architectural designs and in size but is mostly black colored and has lights going every which way. Sam is caught on the streets of the city by some form of police and is taken to the games arena. There he wins a few, loses a few, and gets to meet CLU. CLU looks identical to how Kevin used to look in the 1980s and is a program that was designed by Kevin in order to help him build The Grid and turn it into the perfect system. Sam also finds out that a coup was ordered against his father by CLU decades back and that he’d been in hiding ever since. The portal that allowed Kevin entrance into the system was long ago closed, only to be opened from the outside, and now Sam is trapped inside The Grid with his father and Quorra (Olivia Wilde), a program that Flynn had been protecting for decades, in a race against time to reach the portal before it closes once again.

TRON: Legacy borrows a lot from its predecessor but mostly jacks everything up to 11. The lightcycle race, made famous in the original film, is now more of a motorcycle chase but is relatively thrilling nonetheless; the addition of combatants using acrobatic skills during the disc wars segment is a nice touch; and there are jets now, too. CLU is played by Jeff Bridges’ body double but Bridges’ face was prerecorded visually and is composited on rather well. However, the problem is that CLU’s face looks like rubber. But just keep telling yourselves, “They’re inside a server, it’s supposed to look weird like that.”

The film cost around $170 million and one can easily tell because it’s visually astounding. The best way to watch it was in the theaters but the Blu-ray edition shows off the gorgeous quality that one gets when shooting a film in IMAX. The quality is crystal clear and the color schemes, the suits that actually light up, the lightcycles, the lightrunner, etc. are all astonishing to behold. This is a gorgeous looking film, a good sequel to the original classic, and its original soundtrack that was composed entirely by Daft Punk is mindblowingly awesome. Created with old-school synthesizers, they captured the feeling of the 1980s and it never got old.

The DVD comes with bonus features showcasing the visual effects of the film and the choice of the cast but the Blu-ray edition adds a few more bonus features. None are lengthy but all are insightful. And for $5 more, I’d say pick up the Blu-ray/DVD combo because this is a special effects driven film that is worth watching in the best quality possible.

Other new releases this week: Casino Jack, I Love You, Philip Morris, Little Fockers


4 Comments Post a comment
  1. D
    Apr 5 2011

    Does the collector’s edition come with a copy of the soundtrack? Because that was one of the best part of the new movie.

  2. Apr 5 2011

    I don’t know off hand but I doubt that it does. I also know that Amazon.com’s been selling the soundtrack since the film came to theatres. That and eBay.
    And also according to Amazon.com, there’s no soundtrack in the 5 disc set. Just the 3D Blu-ray, the regular Blu-ray, the original film on Blu-ray, the DVD of Legacy and the digital copy.

  3. Helen
    Apr 14 2011

    It strikes me that this movie is an ideal candidate for “modern silent” treatment. Lop off most of the pre-Grid opening and make some judicious cuts here and there, and of course turn off the dialogue track. Then we could enjoy the wonderful visuals and score without having to wait out the dime store philosophizing and boring, talky bits.

  4. Apr 14 2011

    It’s funny that you mention silent film because watching the original film on Blu-ray last week, I noticed that the make up and lighting and black around the eyes and black lips made the characters look like silent film stars:

    http://images.blu-ray.com/reviews/4047_5.jpg
    http://www.flix66.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Tron-BD-1.jpg
    http://images.blu-ray.com/reviews/4047_2.jpg

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